LoveSpell, $6.99, ISBN 0-505-52493-7
Fantasy Romance, 2002
The Trelayne Inheritance is Colleen Shannon’s golden goose, but that silly author can’t kill it soon enough. This is an interesting tale of vampire power struggle with lycanthropes joining in the fray, and if this author played her cards right, she could have created a franchise out of her premise. There are two powerful male vampires and two equally powerful female lycanthropes, but guess who’s the heroine?
That’s right – a stupid, pathetic, hapless, useless, overly-emotional human woman.
We have Angelina “Angel” Corbett – oh, don’t make it so easy for me to call her the Angel Dingbat – instead, the usual pure, usefree virgin coming to rustic Oxford to seek out her roots. When the introductory scene of her sees her running stupidly into a darkened graveyard – alone, unarmed – because she just has to see what causes an inhuman scream, she’s automatically committed character hara-kiri where I’m concerned. She’s not as bad as some of the more lachrymose heroines I’ve encountered, but she doesn’t make it easy on me by generally acting helpless, passive, wide-eyed stupid, and a hopeless mess when it comes to trusting people discriminately or making rational decisions. In short, she’s a truly awful romance heroine.
The hero is a powerful vampire, Maximillian Briton (good grief), the Earl of Trelayne, who is like a cross between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a vampire Spike who also actually drinks blood and shows some nice vampiric behavior. No sissy stuff like wandering too often in dark halls moaning about his curse here, although he does have a distressing fetish for brain-free virgins like the Angel Dingbat. He has a thing for Angel’s late mother too. Incest has never been this cool.
But since this is a Gothic story, quasi-incest element’s okay with me. I love that Colleen Shannon doesn’t go whiny or fake pretty on me when it comes to her creations.
Into the mix comes a serial murderer called the Beefsteak Killer – alright, Ms Shannon, no more for you, go to bed now – and Shelly Holmes from London who is here to investigate the murder. Shelly, Max, Alexander (the man Angel Dingbat is staying with), and Sarina (Alex’s wife) initiate a power struggle between all four of them, and poor clueless Angel will be trapped in the middle, the weakest link of the pentagram.
The Trelayne Inheritance actually has a pretty good story here, and Angel Dingbat becomes a little bit smarter and proactive but this is only to set her up for one final folly thing that make me gnash my teeth in irritation.
Just think, if it’s Shelly and Max who ended up a couple, the author will have the chance to create a paranormal franchise, and I’d actually buy the books. But with Angel effectively castrating Max and pushing Shelly out of any chances of shining, and the story increasingly conforming to the “Vampires are romantic so let’s kill all traces of vampirism at the end by making him wimp out by the last page with an inane virgin!” formula, Ms Shannon has effectively killed her own golden goose before it even lay her one single egg. Talk about a boo-boo.